Volunteering at Code the Dream
We always need professional software developer volunteers with experience in our tech stack: Ruby on Rails and React.js.
Scroll down for descriptions of each position. ALL positions can be done remotely.
** Indicates most needed.
- **Class Mentor (2+ hrs/week for 4 months)
- **Class Assignment Reviewers (< 1 hr/ week for 4 months)
- **Project Coach (5 hrs/week for 3-4 months)
- Practicum Lead (2-4 hrs/week for 2 months)
- “Huddle” Workshop Leader (1 hr commitment, one-time or series)
- For Groups: Career Café (2-4 hours, one-time)
**Class Support: Mentors
This is our number one biggest volunteer need! Mentors lead one or two weekly “Mentor Sessions” for small groups of students in our online classes for the duration of the 16-week class. Our classes are:
- Ruby on Rails
Mentors have the opportunity to build relationships with our students, guiding them through difficult concepts and helping them gain confidence in their programming skills.
Mentors are responsible for:
- Hosting an hour-long group meeting (“mentor session”) through Zoom once or twice per week, with 4-7 students, to
- Review the concepts learned in that week’s lesson,
- Review the week’s assignment
- Help each other through any questions or blockers the students might have
- Demonstrate how to approach the assignment or pair program
- Filling out a short form after the session to indicate who attended and what was covered
- Engaging in the Slack group discussion to answer questions and encourage students to work with each other to solve problems
Weekly small group “mentor sessions” occur at the time of your choosing. Volunteer Mentors should be comfortable in the programming language. Mentors are not responsible for creating class content, keeping up with student progress, or reviewing assignments. Mentors attend a We provide the support mentors need to be successful with their groups.
Examples: Ashley and Armmand were both mentors for our fall Ruby on Rails class. In this class, they met online with their small groups once per week. Ashley enjoyed coming up with fun code exercises to share with her small group, including a complete Hangman game.
- Commitment: 1-3 hours per week for the duration of a 16-week class (1-hour session + prep time + time on Slack).
- Things to think about before signing up: What is your teck-stack? When would be most convenient for you to offer your mentor session? Could you offer more than one session per week? What do you like about “teaching”/ supporting new coders? What was helpful to you when you were first learning?
**Class Support: Assignment Reviewers
Assignment Reviewers are assigned to 2-3 students during the 4-month classes. They review weekly coding assignments submitted through Github and/or Repl.it and make suggestions for how the code could be improved. Assignments can be reviewed any time day or night, as long as they are reviewed within a week of submission, so this is a great way to volunteer even if you don’t have time during regular work hours.
ASSIGNMENT REVIEWER DETAILS
- Commitment: 30 min-2 hours per week for the duration of a 16-week class (depends on the level of difficulty of the assignment that week). You would be reviewing the work of the same 2-4 people for the whole class and offering them feedback. Assignment review can be done at any time during the day or night.
- Things to think about before signing up: This is a great opportunity if you want to help with classes but have a more limited schedule.
**Project Support: Project Coaches
This is one of our biggest volunteer needs! Project Coaches work on existing Code the Dream client app development projects that are managed by our senior staff. Coaches familiarize themselves with the project code base, and then help our junior apprentices by answering questions and helping to resolve blockers. Project Coaches review Pull Requests to keep the project moving along. We ask for at least a three-month commitment and at least 5 hours per week. Our tech stack is Ruby on Rails and React.js, with a couple of projects with a Node.js backend.
PROJECT COACH DETAILS
- Commitment: 4-6 hours per week for at least 3-4 months.
- Things to think about before signing up: Project Coaches need to be quite experienced in the tech-stack of the project. This is a great opportunity to get involved in the meat of the work in CTD Labs, and get to know our apprentices.
Project Support: Practicum Project Leads
The Practicum is primarily student-led, so the Practicum Project Lead role looks fairly similar to the class mentor role, with a time commitment of about 2 to 4 hours per week. Practicum students will have completed individual final projects during their Ruby on Rails or React course, and the Practicum serves as an opportunity for students to learn and experience working in a team on one of those final projects. The student authors of the selected projects will be the student leads and they will be responsible for project management duties (like managing a Kanban board and tickets in GitHub Projects). The volunteer Practicum Project Lead supervises one team of three to four students over the one to two month timeline of the Practicum. They support their team by helping students address issues in their code and resolve merge conflicts, meeting with their project team on a weekly basis, and being available intermittently throughout the week to respond to questions in the project’s Slack channel.
Practicum project leads are typically responsible for:
- Coordinating and leading weekly meetings with their team of students
- Maintaining communication via Slack between the students working on a project
- Assisting student developers on blockers or other questions related to the project that the students cannot resolve themselves
Special Note: In the event students don’t offer their final projects as a practicum project, we are always looking to identify good projects to serve as a practicum, so if you have a non-for-profit app you’d like to lead a team in creating, we’re all for it!
Example: Antonio, a React developer, led a team of recent CTD student graduates through creating and deploying their first app. He coordinated weekly meetings, and guided the students through how to collaborate on Github repositories, helping them learn how to approach merge conflicts. After three months, the team proudly presented their deployed app to CTD staff!
PRACTICUM LEADER DETAILS
- Commitment: 2-4 hours per week for 1-2 months.
- Things to think about before signing up: Leading a practicum project can be a great opportunity to shepherd a team through app development. It takes commitment and patience to work with students who are working in a team often for the first time. Being supportive of the student lead and all of the team members is key.
“Huddle” Workshop leaders
We are always seeking tech professionals who can provide 1-hour workshops during our weekly “Huddle” on issues in their area of expertise that would be beneficial to our software developer apprentices. Often, Huddles include a hands-on component in which our apprentices can practice what they are learning.
Huddle is an hour-long event on Thursdays at 12pm ET via Zoom. Huddles can be a one-time workshop or a series than spans several weeks. So, instead of one session, we would take a month-long deep dive into a given topic.
Some of the past topics have included:
- Technical skills (SQL, jQuery, Data structures, Testing, Containers, Accessibility)
- Career readiness (Resume writing; Improving your LinkedIn profile; Interview practice, etc.)
- Learning about tech fundamentals (History of coding, Computer science fundamentals, Web security, etc.)
- Tech career exposure (“How I became a Developer”, motivational guest speakers from a variety of tech careers, especially individuals from a minority background; people in tech jobs in non-tech companies)
- Team Building activities
Technical topics we are looking for in future Huddle series’:
- Front End Testing
- React Redux (+ Sagas)
- Docker “labs” – hands on practice
- React functional components + hooks
- SQL – hands on practice
- OOP Design Patterns (Gang of Four)
Each Huddle or series should include plenty of time for on-hand practice.
Examples: Lisa provided an excellent one-time workshop on web security that gave our students insight on the latest industry trends and what should be on their radar as developers. Reid organized a four-workshop series on resume-building that involved best practices, real-time resume-editing, and how to use LinkedIn effectively to highlight aspects of your resume.
- Commitment: 1 hour long. Thursdays at 12pm ET (can be flexible, if needed)
- Things to think about before signing up:What topic would you like to present on? Would it be a one-time workshop or a multi-week session? What do you need to know about the group before you present? How will you make it interactive, especially considering it is on Zoom?
Career Café: Group Volunteer Opportunities
Teams of volunteers from companies or groups are invited to sponsor one of our “Career Cafés”. During our monthly Friday afternoon Career Café, the volunteers present a workshop or panel of tech professionals offering advice, tips, or stories about obtaining a career in tech or working in the industry. After the workshop, the volunteers divide up to work one-on-one with CTD apprentices in Zoom Breakout Rooms to practice mock interviews, review resumes, or discuss best practices for getting a job.
Example: Credit Suisse and IBM sent teams of volunteers for an evening session with our student developers. Their senior software engineers conducted practice technical interviews with students preparing for the job market, helping our students improve their interviewing skills. In another example, the company Next Request conducted a complete mock-hiring-process. They circulated job descriptions in advance, and apprentices “applied” for the positions, then held mock interviews, including a coding exercise to simulate a technical interview experience.
CAREER CAFE DETAILS
- Commitment: One time commitment. Career Café is held on the second Friday of the month at 2pm ET. It is usually a 2-3 hour commitment for the volunteers, including workshop presentation and one-on-one breakouts.
- Things to think about before signing up: How many people from your company would participate? Are there affinity groups within the company that would be interested in participating? Do you have people who could offer mock technical interviews?